Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Online Food Studies Program

The UOC International Graduate Institute is now offering an online master's program in Food, Society, and International Governance. The program is designed for individuals interested in enhancing their understanding and analysis of agriculture and food policy, and increasing their understanding of the social, cultural and economic factors that influence and shape the development and enforcement of agriculture governance. This combination presents an opportunity to explore connections between the historical, political, scientific, strategic and ethical considerations involved in the organisation of food policy and agriculture internationally.

This program is designed to prepare people to meet the demand for knowledgeable and well-trained food systems leaders and analysts by fostering practical and critical learning with an international perspective.

Starting in October, UOC will be offering innovative online courses:

* Masters in Food, Society and International Governance (2 years, part time, €4,200)

* Postgraduate Diploma in Food Systems and Governance (1 year, part time, €2,300)

* Short course in Food systems Analysis (4 months, part time, €1,200)

Is this programme for you?

The Food Systems, Culture and Society programme attracts students and people who work across the agri-food sector. Many of our students already have work experience and are looking to broaden their knowledge and skills so as to advance their careers.

The courses are specifically geared towards:

§ Individuals working in the agri-food sector

§ Public administrators

§ Policy analysts

§ Consultants

§ Lawyers

§ Journalists specializing in food politics

§ Professional organizations, NGOs or international cooperation projects that address issues linked to food and agriculture

§ Students wishing further education on issues of agri-food governance

This programme will prepare people to meet the demand for knowledgeable and well-trained food systems analysts and leaders, by fostering practical and critical learning with an international perspective.

Note that to apply for the programme, you do not have a university degree. Please submit a CV and letter of interest to

About the UOC

The UOC is a leader in e-learning and we are progressive in our determination to champion open education that integrates new ideas and new technologies. The UOC is a 100% internet-based, fully accredited university operating from Barcelona. We champion multilingualism and hold the UNESCO chair in e-learning.

To find the program on Facebook, search "food systems, culture and society"

Check out the blog

Find out more online

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Reports: From the Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN)

2009 Leading Agricultural Sectors for US Export and Investment_Taipei ATO_Taiwan_4-10-2009.pdf
Agricultural marketing specialists compile basic agricultural market information for U.S. exporters about a range of industry and service sectors in Taiwan. The leading agricultural report, updated annually, cover beef, pork, poultry, fresh fruit, dried and frozen fruit, ready-to-use ingredients, cheese, engineered wood, chocolate and other candy, pet food and wine and spirits, fish and seafood products, and ginseng sectors which represent the best prospects for U.S. exporters.
Bangkok Newsletter - June 2009_Bangkok_Thailand_4-16-2009.pdf In this issue you will find information on market access for U.S. potatoes and pork, APEC events, market opportunities for U.S. exports to Thailand; and upcoming events.
Biotech Field Destructions Continue_Berlin_Germany_6-3-2009.pdf Anti-biotech groups have continued their destruction in 2009. By the end of May 2009, the German Plant Breeders Association (BDP) already reported six cases of research plot destructions and occupations in Germany this year.  Since there is no commercial cultivation of biotech crops allowed in Germany, activists are concentrating their destructive work on research fields and research installations.
Commodity Report_EU-27 CITRUS SEMI-ANNUAL_Madrid_Spain EU-27_6-9-2009.pdf  EU-27 citrus orchards include orange, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit groves.  Production is mainly in the Mediterranean regions of Spain, Italy and Greece, with lesser production in France, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal.  While it is still early in the season, production for MY 2009/10 is expected to be similar to that of MY 2008/09.
General Report_New Delhi_India_6-12-2009.pdf India's bio-fuel strategy continues to focus on use of non-food sources for production of bio-fuels: sugar molasses for production of ethanol for blending with gasoline, and non-edible oilseeds for production of bio-diesel for blending with petro-diesel.  The government's current target of five percent blending of ethanol with petrol has been partially successful in years of surplus sugar production, but falters when sugar production declines.
General Report_The Hague_Netherlands-Germany EU-27_6-15-2009.pdf In Directive 2003/30, the EU set indicative targets for biofuel consumption.  While the use of biofuels is trending upwards it is not expected that the EU will achieve its target of 5.75% of road transport fuel by 2010.  In the previous EU Biofuels Annual, it was reported that profit margins in the biofuels sector were reduced by high feedstock prices and competitive imports.  Since the summer of 2008, however, the market for biodiesel in the EU further deteriorated due to the decline in fossil ...
Improved Access for Australian Citrus and Mangos to China_Canberra_Australia_06-17-2009.pdf The emerging trade in Australian citrus and mangos to China is expected to grow after the Australian Federal Government negotiated improved market access.
New Law on GMO is prohibiting trade or commercial growing of GMO _Belgrade_Serbia_6-10-2009.pdf  On May 29, 2009 National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia adopted new Law Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) that fully prohibits the possibility of commercial growing of live modified organisms, or trade with live modified organism and products derived from genetically modified organisms. With the new Law on GMO, Serbian import of soybean meal (from roundup ready soybeans) for cattle feed is no longer possible.
Organic Agriculture in Serbia_Belgrade_Serbia_6-8-2009.pdf  Serbia has around 218 certified organic farmers with organic production on approximately 5,000 hectares. Only 600 hectares are certified by the certified organizations that are accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture. Total organic production accounts about 30,000 tons of organic products. Total market value of organic products in Serbia is about $55 million. Imported organic products can be found on supermarket shelves and in specialized stores. At present, more than 90 percent of all organic...
UAE Decrees New Import Requirements for Cooked Red Meat_Dubai_United Arab Emirates_6-15-2009.pdf The UAE's Ministry of Environment and Water has issued new requirements for the importation of cooked red meat, a product previously regulated by the General Secretariat of Municipalities.  The decree states that meat must come animals that were not treated with hormones and requires both a veterinary and health certificate for shipments, these and other requirements could pose a significant challenge to U.S. exporters and regulators.  
Weekly Rice Price Update_Bangkok_Thailand_6-16-2009.pdf Domestic and export prices increased up to ten percent due to limited exportable supplies, particularly for parboiled rice.  Exporters are facing unexpected supply difficulties as the government stock release decision is still being reviewed by the Cabinet.  The stock release review has forced some exporters to source white rice from the domestic market.  Any increases in current export prices are expected to be temporary as the government is releasing a portion of the contracts which have been ...

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Sparkling Wine War: Pitting Trademark Rights Against Geographic Indications

The May/June 2009 issue of Business Law Today is all about food. The article, The Sparkling Wine War: Pitting Trademark Rights Against Geographic Indications

By Carol Robertson, provides an nice overview of the US-EU debate on geographic indicators for wine.

"Masquerading as Champagne might be legal, but it isn't fair," reads a recent ad sponsored by the Office of Champagne, USA, a trade group dedicated to the promotion of the interests of French champagne producers. What is their complaint?—that certain U.S. winemakers are legally entitled to produce sparkling wine in this country and label it "champagne."

The Historic Mystique of Champagne

Champagne (in French "le champagne") is a beverage produced in La Champagne. This region of Northeastern France is known for its chalky soil, which contributes to the unique flavor of a sparkling wine that has long been a favorite celebration beverage—at marriages, births, and, of course, the New Year. Since the early nineteenth century, American vintners have attempted to produce a sparkling wine that would rival champagne. In 1842, Louis Longworth of Cincinnati (known as the father of the American wine industry) produced a bubbly wine from the native Catawba grape that was compared favorably to the French product. In 1876, a New York Times correspondent encountered a sparkling wine called "Eclipse" at Buena Vista Winery in California. By the end of the nineteenth century, a number of U.S. producers were making sparkling wine and were not hesitant to call their products "champagne." Among these were the Korbel brothers, who began producing a sparkling wine called "champagne" in California in 1882. . . .

Place Name Versus Trademark

There is a conflict between European wine producers and American wine producers over whether greater importance should be placed on the name of a place where a wine is produced or the brand under which it is sold. In America, historically, the trademark has been the most important feature, not the provenance of the wine. But European producers have long recognized the importance of "terroir"—that wine made from grapes grown in a particular location will have a unique taste. The word "terroir" has no English translation. It means place, certainly, but also it implies soil characteristics, climate, and altitude, for example. It represents also the learnings about wine production passed on from an earlier generation of winemakers to their followers, that is, the craft of the winemaker. France's first laws designed to protect geographic areas were enacted in the nineteenth century, as a means to deter fraudulent indication of origin. In 1919, the French created the Appellation D'Origine Contrôl&ée (AOC), which required that the true geographic origin of a wine be accurately represented and which remains in effect to this day. Starting in 1989, the European Union (EU) passed a number of regulations governing wine products with a goal of preventing descriptions that were incorrect or were likely to cause confusion or to mislead consumers. These regulations were intended to apply not only to wines produced in Europe but also to wines originating in other countries. They specifically prohibit the use of the name of a given region in the EU to describe an imported wine. . . .

Europe's Stance: Geography Controls

For comparable reasons, Europeans wish to protect their place names. The French have long railed against the common practice of U.S. winemakers to indiscriminately borrow French place names—such as Champagne, Burgundy, or Chablis—to label wines that do not come from these specific regions and that do not even closely resemble them. . . .

Robertson’s whole article is available here.